As polls close in, parties leave citizens guessing about choice of candidates

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With the entry of some farmer unions into the upcoming Assembly polls in Punjab, political parties are treading their paths cautiously here in Mohali. So far, no party has declared its candidate, leaving the citizens guessing. Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu’s visit to former Punjab cabinet minister Balbir Singh Sidhu’s residence last week indicated that the party might again rely on Sidhu.

“Last week the PPCC chief visited Sidhu [Balbir], and his close associate Rishab Jain was made the District Congress Committee chief. These are indications that Sidhu [Balbir] could be party’s choice, but nothing can be said before the list (of candidates) is out,” a Congress leader told The Indian Express.

This time it will be a five pronged contest between Congress, AAP, SAD, BJP and the political party floated by the farmer unions. AAP is yet to decide on the party’s candidate. In 2017, the party fielded Narinder Shergill who managed to get around 40,000 votes and was at the second position. This time, AAP may field some other candidate. Former mayor Kulwant Singh was also in touch with the party but there were reportedly some issues which were to be sorted out.

“Kulwant Singh wanted to contest on AAP’s ticket, he was in talks with the party’s senior leadership, but due to some issues the announcement of the ticket was delayed,” an AAP source said. Kulwant Singh, however, denied having any discussions with the AAP.

The SAD is unable to zero in on a candidate as well. The party conducted three to four elections surveys on different candidates, including two women candidates, but the announcement of the ticket was delayed. The party has now started looking at a former councillor, who recently rejoined the party. During the pre-poll alliance, the SAD also gave a seat to the BSP.

A party leader requesting anonymity said that the seat was swapped with BSP under pressure from local leaders but the party was yet to find a suitable candidate. The party could not win the Mohali seat in the previous elections. In 2017, the SAD candidate came third and also lost a considerable vote share to AAP.

The BJP which is contesting for the first time in the city has also kept their cards close to the chest. A former councillor of the party told The Indian Express that since the party did not have a face, it will take some more time for the announcement of the ticket. “Many things shall be kept in mind, as of now there is favourites,” he added. The party performed poorly in the civic body elections held earlier this year and failed to get a single seat. The party’s four councillors also lost in their wards.

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